Thursday 2 June 2016

Ethical Eating Without the Labels

 I used to be a vegetarian. For 9 years.
Then I ate chicken.
Then I stopped again.
Then I started eating fish.
So I suppose I'm a pescetarian.
Now I'm cutting out dairy.
Am I an ovo-pescetarian?
Who doesn't use products tested on animals.

Does that make me a better person than your standard pescetarian? Maybe on par with a vegetarian but definitely worse than a vegan... And obviously miles better than someone who eats meat and buys products tested on animals...
~~praying the sarcasm is sensed here.

The point of this is: why does it bloody matter?
The only use I can see for the labels of vegans/vegetarians/pescetarians is labels on food and in menus for ease of identification of appropriate foods. Although, lets be honest, it's not so difficult to read the ingredients or ask at the restaurant.

I choose to boycott labels of these ways of life. I compare them to stereotypes - we don't like chavs because they are this, this and this. Goths are all so and so. All hipsters look like blah blah blah. It leads to overgeneralisation, wrong (sometimes) assumptions and prejudice. I see a lot of vegans bashing vegetarians for eating eggs and milk and contributing to the suffering of animals. Equally I see vegetarians feeling self-righteous for not eating meat, and cruelty-free shoppers thinking they're better than MAC and Estee Lauder-lovers.

People's reasons for eating the way they do vary exponentially from person to person. I had a friend who didn't eat meat and called himself a vegetarian because he didn't like the taste of meat. No ethical or moral obligations behind it, just hated eating meat. Why does that put him higher on the scale of "best-ness" than a pescetarian who cares deeply about animals? It doesn't. Likewise, I had a friend who called herself vegetarian but was more than a little partial to a chicken nugget every now and again. What does that mean for her? Where does she fit on that scale?

So this is where I'm at right now - I would like to cut out the fish eventually and go back to being a full vegetarian but I'm not there yet. And I, personally, don't feel the same ethical struggle and dissonance about eating tuna as lamb. That's my prerogative. Eating dairy, however, doesn't sit well with me at all. So I am removing dairy from my diet, gradually. I am drinking soy milk, eating vegan cheese and butter and gradually replacing other favourites.

I urge anyone who is on the fence or even doesn't understand to research the dairy industry - it is very upsetting. I also don't think it's natural to drink milk/eat dairy. How many other mammals drink the breast milk of another animal? I personally find it perverse. Milk is for babies - we have enough options for protein and nutrients from solid foods, why eat milk? (Yes, I know cheese is delicious and I am battling my demons with this. Vegan cheese, FTW).

I now eat eggs only from family and friends who raise chickens as pets - they have no males to fertilise the eggs so the eggs are categorically not going to become chickens. If they are not eaten, they will rot. Battery farms and caged hens are atrocious and I have chosen to boycott eggs from farms like that for a long time, and you need to be careful with free range/organic as even many of them are not as happy as they seem.

But I, now, feel very happy with my choice. I feel that I am eating ethically according to my moral standards, I feel little conflict or dissonance. I am not a vegan, or a vegetarian, or a pescetarian. That's okay. I'm no better or worse than anyone else, as my conscious is relatively clear. The point I'm trying to put across, and not succintly, I am aware, is don't feel that because you, for whatever reason, don't feel like you can commit to being a vegetarian/vegan/cruelty free, please don't give up on the whole cause. Eat ethically by your standards as that is truly better than nothing at all. The animals appreciate you and I appreciate you.

I would love to know your thoughts on this - are you vegan/vegetarian/pescetarian? Do you want to eat more ethically? Do you think my logic is stupid and ridiculous and I am an awful person? I want to start a discussion on this, but please be polite. We're all friends here!

Teri-May xx



  1. I think you're my favourite vegetarian/other label of your choice! So refreshing to read a post like this :)
    I do eat meat and dairy - but then again, my Dad's a beef farmer and I personally know the farmer we get our milk from, so I am pretty confident about the animal welfare standards for me personally... I don't know, it's such a grey area! Thank you for sharing your thoughts :)

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

  2. Great post hun, I love animals and sometimes I say it's wrong but I love meat and diary! x

  3. I am in exactly the same place as you! And even though I feel I should care more about not eating fish (maybe one day I will) for now, eating fish and eggs works for me and I feel morally 'ok' about it. A concept that I like is called being a 'Rebel Veggie/Vegan', whereby you follow a veggie/vegan diet for the majority of the week/month/year and then allow yourself time to eat whatever you want!

    I think your logic makes perfect sense, and you're definitely helping to make the world a better place :)
    Georgie xo

  4. On a level of health and depending how good someone is at keeping up with what they eat, technically vegans are the "best" and vegetarians are "second best". However, that doesn't make them a better person than an omnivore or pescatarian if that vegan or vegetarian have a horrible attitude.
    Yes, labels are everywhere and almost everyone is under one. I personally don't care what people think when I say I'm vegetarian because we all end up getting along; your personally can really diminish that stereotype certain people might have. ~.o

    And as far as omnivores go; they can live a long and healthy life if they know how to limit their meat intake and guide themselves on what they specifically eat. :)


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